WORLD MATE (Religious Movement)

The activities of World Mate were started in 1984 by Toshu Fukami (1951-). Fukami was previously known as Seizan Fukami until 1995. The group has also changed its name to ‘Cosmo Mate’, then to ‘Powerful Cosmo Mate’ and finally it became ‘World Mate’ in 1994.

Fukami was born as Haruhisa Handa in Hyogo Prefecture, west Japan, and when he was at school he affiliated to a Japanese new religion (see New Religion (Japan)), Sekai Kyusei Kyo, where his mother was a member. He later affiliated to another Japanese NRM, Omoto, when he was reading Economics at Doshisha University, Kyoto. After graduating from university, he continued to pursue his religious interests while working for a construction firm in Tokyo as a member of the sales department. In 1977 Fukami met a female psychic, Kaoru Tachibana (1934-), and left the company to pursue his spiritual life with her, becoming a lodger at Tachibana’s house along with a few others. He then created his own firm and cramming schools in 1978. He started lecturing in 1984

in his newly established religious movement, which was a Shinto study group. In 1985, with his new name, Seizan, he published a religious book which sold well. The group, now called World Mate, is categorized as a Shinto new religion and has about 20,00030,000 members (World Mate claimed 41,000 members in 2003). The teaching includes the salvation of spirits, in the sense of the comforting of ancestors and other spirits that are negatively affecting the lives of humans on earth; this is believed to be the key to a better life.

World Mate is active in charity and welfare movements; it created a hospital in Cambodia (1996), offers scholarships to support foreign students and aids various research centres overseas, particularly in Australia, China and the UK, to support their research into Shinto and other Japanese religions. As a result, Fukami has been appointed to be a number of honorary positions, including an Honorary Fellowship at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London.

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